Most of us are trying to be “eco-friendly” and one fairly easy way to accomplish this is to recycle. What most people may not realize is that some items commonly assumed to by recyclable are in fact, not able to be reused. The following list shows 5 of these items:
Surprised? I was. I thought anything made from paper or paper products could be recycled, but that is far from correct. The simple reason they are not recycled is because of the grease residue left on most boxes. Any paper, such as napkins, that has grease or food on it also falls under this criteria. However, if the top part of the box is grease free it can be recycled, simply tear it off and place it in the recycle bin.
Particular Types of Glass
A few types recycling centers will not accept are: glassware, broken glass, ceramics, auto, and mirror glass. Because a special heating process is often used, they cannot be recycled. However, glass bottles and jars are recyclable.
The main reason plastic bags are not recycled is simple, they get tangled in the machinery used to process them. Another problem occurs when bins are hand-sorted. Workers cannot see what’s inside the bags and injury could result, so all bags are thrown away.
Styrofoam is most often used for food containers and once again there is the problem of contamination. Since Styrofoam is porous it readily absorbs grease and juices from food, which makes it difficult and very expensive to recycle. Styrofoam is also a petroleum product, which makes it highly flammable. Most recycling centers are not set up to handle this product.
This is a good one to know since most of us will undoubtedly have lots of this material on hand after Christmas. Heavy inks on the paper are the main reason it can’t be recycled, but foiled paper is also on the list. By the way, bows and ribbons are not recyclable either; think about saving and reusing them.
This is a small list. If in doubt, contact your local recycling center or check with Earth911.com for more information because there are a few exceptions. Don’t forget, many items also sport a recycle symbol to help consumers.